Fantrax Haul GW2: 7.5
There are two conversations being had currently about Buendia. One camp, mostly consisting of those in the fantasy community (many of which you could consider leaders in the community), are touting Buendia to have a monster year. They will tell you that he’s creative, that the offense is going to move through him, and that even if he doesn’t score or assist, he’ll accumulate enough peripheral stats to be a consistent scorer for your fantasy team no matter the match-up. This is a juicy prospect considering that he went late in many drafts and undrafted in many others not consisting of Twitter community insiders. The other contingent in this debate would tell you that numbers from the Championship more often than not do not translate to the Prem. They would also argue that strong attacking teams in the Championship usually fail to impress once confronted with the reality of the ultra-fast, ultra-physical play in the Prem. (Though, a fair argument could be made that many of these points are already moot after Pukki’s brilliant first two weeks). Let’s dive into his performances to see if we side with the “hypers” or the haters.
First of all, his heat map is quite telling. For a player who supposedly had a player rating of 6.7, he sure influenced the game quite a bit from many areas of the pitch, as displayed by the dark red sections. And it’s important to note that he moves around the entire field without spending much time in his own defensive third. Therefore, we are truly dealing with an attacking player who basically has free reign to free-roam. For me, these are all tallies in the hype section. Let’s move on. In the GW2 match vs. Newcastle, he tallied 86 touches on the ball, lost possession 26 times, crossed the ball 11 times (3 accurate), and had 50 accurate passes (83%). He had in excess of 20 more touches than any other attacking player on his team. In terms of scoring stats, he had 4 key passes, and 2 successful dribbles. For me, it boils down to this: you can’t touch the ball that much and NOT have an impact on the game. This particular game was a Pukki Party, meaning that the lion’s share of the points went his way, and rightfully so. But, Pukki won’t have that same impact on every game. Goals will have to be created and scored from elsewhere in the team as well. If you ask me, there’s no better bet for those offensive returns than the player through whom the entire offense flows. Emi has the right combination of talent and time on the ball to be an excellent play going forward. I’m buying in.
The Hype-pothesis Evaluation: how likely is Buendia to live up to the hype?
Fantrax Haul GW2: 1.5
The much-touted left-winger has come into a Hammers side that many were very excited about this season. Surveying the attacking options for West Ham is enough to make any fantasy owner salivate. Even if their defense is lacking, we FPL players were hoping that every game would end with a scoreline of 4-3, and that we would be amazed and awestruck at their creative attacking talent. Well, it’s safe to say that we’ve been underwhelmed thus far. And while we’ve got no choice but to be patient with this team as a whole, many are still backing Fornals to be a revelation on the West Ham wing. They would have you believe that he’s not gotten a proper shot yet and that he will grow into his role, ultimately cementing his spot in the starting XI and rewarding faithful FPL draft managers with consistent point hauls. Well, yes, I’ll concede that he hasn’t enjoyed much playtime just yet. However, he’s got more than a combined 90’ that we can analyze to gauge his effectiveness. Because he started and played 77’ against Brighton, that’s the heat map we’ll focus on. However, I’ll bring in some stats from both games, as he played 45’ against City in GW1.
It’s fairly obvious from looking at the heat map that Fornals had very little impact on the Hammers’ attack. His main contributions were near the half line on the left wing and judging from his 6.3 rating, those contributions were likely minimal. But let’s look at some greater detail. He totaled 38 touches, which was the fewest of any midfielder aside from Jack Wilshere, which speaks for itself. With those touches, he completed 15 accurate passes (or 68%), a rate which is abysmal for a Premier League MID. He totaled 0 accurate crosses on 2 attempts. He had 2 successful dribbles from 4 attempted. He lost possession 14 times, was dribbled past once, and failed to win possession on either of his 2 tackle attempts. Looking at his 45’ from GW1, it’s more of the same. He had 23 touches, lost possession on 7 of them, and completed 11 accurate passes (84%). His only Fantrax returns between both gameweeks were 2 takeaways, 2 successful dribbles, and 1 clearance. Let me play devil’s advocate to my negativity for a second. 1. They played Manchester City in GW1. It’s hard to expect success there, no matter who we’re talking about. 2. His opponent in Brighton for GW2 have proven to be much better defensively than anyone expected to start the season. There, I’ve done my honest due diligence. His numbers are still DREADFUL. He could yet surprise us all and prove the hypesters correct, but I’m certainly not holding out any hope after his first two performances. Given the midfield depth at WHU, I would consider Fornals fully droppable.
The Hype-pothesis Evaluation: how likely is Fornals to live up to the hype?
Fantrax Haul GW 1: 13 points
If you listen to the hype, last year was a complete and utter anomaly in terms of Prӧpper’s performance. It’s this year we need to focus on. This year he’s being used differently. This year he’s going to be a lynchpin in Potter’s offense. Press pause for a second, folks. Let’s be REAL honest with each other for a moment. You can’t overlook a year in which he played 30 games, scored one goal, assisted once, took 15 shots (of which only TWO were on frame) and scored 6.07 pts/90 for his 12% ownership. So, since we’ve acknowledged last year, which those hyping him are hesitant to do, now we can look at GW1.
Prӧpper scored 13 points in Fantrax and assisted once. As you can see from his heat map, he spent a lot of time on the right flank and from the dark red coloration, we can tell that he affected the game from that position as well. Interestingly, when we look at his average position, though, he shows up just behind the midfield line in his defensive half. In fact, four players on his team, including the wing-back Montoya have average positions higher up the field than Prӧpper. Watch the highlights. On most scoring chances, he’s nowhere near Watford’s goal. To quickly cover the rest of his stats from GW1, he had 62 touches on the ball, 1 key pass, 1 accurate cross, 1 shot off-target, lost possession 10 times, and was dribbled past 4 times (the most of any midfielder on his team). His only other scoring stats were the 2 clearances, 1 tackle won, and 1 interception. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but those sound like CDM points, not CAM points. Essentially what we’re left with is a player who had one assist on one successful cross, which basically accounted for all of his offensive points. Add to this equation that we’ve got about as congested a midfield as we could possibly have in Brighton (save West Ham… good lord, West Ham). So, all of that being said and analyzed, I have to say that I’m not convinced. I’m comfortable being wrong and will surely often be in this weekly column. However, I see Prӧpper as a sub 8 point a week player on average and, in the worst-case scenario, a bench player once all of Brighton’s new talent is incorporated.
The Hype-pothesis Evaluation: how likely is Prӧpper to live up to the hype?
Fantrax Haul GW1: -1
Chelsea fans, the prince has returned! Listen carefully as I wax poetic about a journeyman loanee who has proven himself time and again, only to be overlooked by his mother club year after year. Then one day, against all odds, he finally gets his time to shine, as his team hires a former player to coach the side -a former player who loves a homegrown (shoutout to this column) talent and isn’t afraid to bet the house on a youngster. Yes, Blues faithful, of course I’m referring to Tammy Abraham, here to save you from the doldrums of your striker-less existence! Ok, maybe the hype isn’t that overblown. But when we saw Tammy given the #9 jersey during preseason, some reacted as if Lampard had directly stated, “Oh, Tammy, why yes. He’s our #1 striker. In fact, we had considered a bid for Dybala, but Tammy shone so brightly in preseason that we knew we already had a world-class talent on our hands.” Enough silliness. Let’s talk facts. Here’s how his GW1 looked according to SofaScore:
For those new to heat maps, basically, the yellow blotches represent the areas of the field where the player spent time, and those blotches get darker (orange to red) as the player has an impact on the game in a certain area of the field. Now you’re wondering why you don’t see any orange or red blotches on Tammy’s heat map. It’s because he didn’t impact the game! His -1 point speaks volumes, obviously. Though, that was largely due to his yellow card. So, apologists will tell you that sans the YC, he would have had a decent day and that only good things are on the horizon.
This is a perfect time to stop for one second and discuss his performance from last year, because those aforementioned Tammy cheerleaders will point you to his numbers from 18/19. True, he scored 25 goals in 37 appearances with 3450 minutes (about 1 goal every 140 mins). Now, in order to be a worthwhile start in Fantrax, a striker needs to do more than just score, right? In 18/19, Abraham had 3 assists, less than 1 key pass/game, less than 1 successful dribble/game, 1.7 times dispossessed/match, and 2.7 miscontrolled passes/game.
Back to GW1 of this season. His average position was just in front of the center circle on the opponent’s half behind Mason Mount’s average position. For a player who is so reliant on aerials and offers very little in terms of creativity and or ability to dribble past defenders, this is concerning. All of this goes to say that Abraham, though he netted a decent amount of goals last year, has yet to show that his game is in any way well-rounded. He’s one-dimensional. Of his 24 touches in GW1, he lost possession 9 times. I have nothing against the man. I simply think that he’s a middling striker who’s not of the caliber that Chelsea need. In my humble opinion, there are 3 better strikers on that team than Tammy, and it’s only a matter of time before Lampard realizes that as well.
The Hype-pothesis Evaluation: how likely is Abraham to live up to the hype?